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30th November 2010 - November issue of IL MIO VINO


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2010 Chianti Classico grape harvest


Now that almost all of the grapes are in the cellar it’s possible to crow about a 2010 that in Black Rooster land seems to promise good things for vintners and consumers....


From the strictly meteorological standpoint 2010 featured alternating situations. Temperatures were often below average for the same periods in the most recent years and a winter worthy of the name, which took temperatures in Chianti close to freezing, was followed by a cool, rainy spring, with temperatures remaining fairly low, and so the vines blossomed somewhat later than usual.
A hot July sped up full plant growth, which proceeded somewhat slowly in August and September, also hot but not scorching.
The second half of September and early October offered splendid days of normal weather with temperatures close to seasonal averages but also several hours of rain, in some areas accompanied by harmful hailstorms. Contributing to the good results of the harvest were the sunny days at picking time in late September/early October, bringing high temperatures especially at midday.

In any case, harvesting the grapes was fairly laborious for producers, who had to pick selectively and in various installments, choosing the grapes pretty much on the basis of the ripeness of individual vines.
The most important enological fact this year was the phenolic maturation of the Sangiovese, better in quality and more balanced than in the international grapes (Merlot, Cabernet, etc.) and testifying (should there be need to) to our territory’s special vocation for this noble grape.

While the weather wasn’t entirely even, the experience of Chianti Classico grape growers in any case made it possible to bring in another good year. There will be particular rewards for the most attentive vintners who, having carefully selected grapes in excellent health, were able to calmly wait until ripening was completed, taking advantage of the sunny end-of-summer days.

The 2010 to come

Right now not all the wine has reached the drawing off stage. However, initial impressions from technicians and insiders are of “surprising” results: fermentation proceeded without hitches and the wines emerging have intense colors and fragrances, with acidity levels high enough to predict a good aptitude for aging; alcohol content is high but not excessive, to the benefit of balanced wines leaving room for a wealth of aromas.
And it is precisely the work of the enologists and vintners over the past few months, plus the careful grape selection made during the harvest, that will determine the success of the 2010 vintage, child of a rather difficult season. But, as often happens in singular years weather-wise, the grapes arriving in the cellar this year are really good. In brief, in 2010 the Black Rooster’s output was lower but not it’s quality, for a vintage along the lines of the excellent ones that Chianti Classico has enjoyed in the first decade of the new millennium.

Lower yield

Where quantities are concerned, this year Chianti Classico producers will have to reckon with a recent measure (n. 719) passed by the Tuscany Region on August 2, 2010, which, as specifically requested by the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium, establishes “for the 2010 grape harvest a 20% lower production yield for Chianti Classico DOCG”.
This measure, decided by consortium members and approved by the region, was intended to keep product quality high while at the same time setting the price for bulk wine:
“The economic crisis of the past two years was very violent and hit every sector, although in different ways,” says Pallanti. “Even the winemaking sector experienced a big market drop, with less demand internally and abroad, partly due to the euro’s high exchange rate.

A rise in the value of the dollar as well as a livelier global market are finally giving us a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. To cope with the contingent situation the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium considered it necessary to outline a short-term response that would encourage a rapid trend reversal. The decision to cut back yield per hectare by 20% for Chianti Classico (a decision taken other times in the past) was definitely a sacrifice but one equally shared by all producers in the territory in the interests of everyone and of the Chianti Classico denomination. The aim was to make a small contribution to stabilizing the price of wine sold in bulk and at the same time send a strong signal to the market in order to accelerate the upturn we are all awaiting and that the quality of this wine demands”.

As reported at 

2010.11.18 How Sassicaia is made


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In this video, Dr Sebastiano Rosa spells out the detail, also mentioning their two 'lesser' wines Guildalberto and Le Difese.

You can see his stepfather Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta in the background of this smart new winery, as well as in close up at the end. Questions are put by both Patrick Sandeman of Lea & Sandeman of London and Russian wine writer Eleanora Scholes, who is now resident in Como.

15th November 2010 - Vintage 2010 - Gaja on Italy

15 Nov 2010 by Angelo Gaja

The 2010 vintage in Italy will be remembered as among the least productive in terms of quantity and perhaps the most sparse. Overall quality is good, with scattered excellence here and there.

In the right amounts, sun and rain are what create quality in Piemontese wines, the Nebbiolo-derived wines of Barbaresco and Barolo among them.

The climatic progression of 2010 has been different from that of the previous 10 years. During the summer of 2003, there were eight exceptionally hot weeks. In 2010, there were only two. In 2010, it rained nearly three times as much as it did in 2003 and, as a result, the vines never suffered from hydric stress. From a climatic standpoint, it is as if we had travelled back in time: there are more than a few similarities with 1996 and 1982.

In 2010, hard work was necessary in the vineyards. The frequent spring rains made vineyard management more difficult than usual and the rainfall in late August and September was a cause of concern for grape growers who feared that the health of their fruit would be compromised. In Piedmont, winemakers were somewhat surprised to find that harvest ended with superior quality. In fact, the 2010 harvest will make for harmonious, balanced and elegant wines, endowed with bright, vibrant acidity and measured alcohol content.

As in the past, the Nebbiolo vineyards which received great care, with the best exposure and terroir, will be those achieving the most excellence in wines.

Tuscany also experienced plentiful rainfall in 2010 and there were relatively few exceptionally hot weeks. The weather of another era has returned.

At Pieve Santa Restituta, Montalcino, things could not have gone better, due in part to a little bit of skill but also thanks to chance: we chose the best moments to work in the vineyards; the choice to green harvest on two different occasions delivered results that were more effective than in previous years, and we predicted the right time to begin the harvest. Our early (although not definitive) tastings of the recently vinified wine lead my staff and me to believe that we have created the best vintage of Brunello di Montalcino since 1994, the year we acquired Pieve Santa Restituta.

At Ca' Marcanda, the season began in Bolgheri with a mild winter and average rainfall. Then, from April until June, the rainfall was frequent and plentiful, so much so that it seemed as though we had returned to the bizarre vintages of another era. In the majority of vineyards, in the flatlands, the drainage of rainwater took place slowly, causing stagnation that made access difficult for mechanical farm tools when anti-parasitic treatments needed to be carried out. There was no lack of anxious moments and genuine concern.

A hot and dry July helped to make up for some of the delay that had been accumulated in vegetative development. It was during this period that we began to prune and drop fruit at Ca' Marcanda, a green harvest more severe than in years past. Our intervention was rewarded with quality in an otherwise climatically difficult year. The rain began to fall again every so often, from the end of August until the end of September. As a result, we had to harvest (by hand, as always) not just during the working week but on Saturdays and Sundays as well. It was a growing season marked by bizarre weather, just as it used to be in another time. We were surprised, however, by the quality of the vintage, excellent for no less than 80% of the harvest. Wines from the 2010 vintage will be lean, balanced, and with excellent acidity and aromatic character.


30th October 2010 - Latest copy of Il Mio Vino out now

The October issue of Il Mio Vino is available now for an
online read click on the cover!!

To view the back issues online please click here

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